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October 2018 Searchlight

To read the October 2018 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Worship Message

Our 2018-2019 Theme is Loaded Words – October’s Loaded Word is . . . EVIL

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, George W. Bush immediately began using intense theological language about Good and Evil. He used these categories often and with what many saw as great hubris. He called other nations evil, he spoke of Evil as a force, somehow beyond human control. He communicated an entire theology of evil that was antithetical to much of our Unitarian Universalist worldview including a human capacity for transformation, and he followed that theology straight into an unjust war.

Since those days, Evil has been a loaded word for me. And yet, grappling with good and evil feels imperative, if we are to wrestle our way toward any kind of moral clarity in a time that requires our clear actions on behalf of love. We can think about evil with humility, we can think about it with hope, but we cannot ignore it.

Join us this month to wrestle with evil, together!

See you in church!
– Rev. Molly

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October Worship Services

Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m.

Oct. 7 – “Everyday Evil” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt once said, “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” Join us to grapple with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday life, and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Oct. 14 – “The Devil We Know” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

As Unitarian Universalists, we tend to see Evil as an abstract concept, but many religious traditions have visceral imagery of devils or demons to describe the experience of evil in the material world. Could we have something to learn from these images?

Oct. 21 – Multi-generational Worship – “Do the Monster Mash” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

As we approach Halloween, join us for an interactive service considering the idea of monsters in mythologies and in the minds of the young and old alike. How do monsters help us grapple with the evils in our world?

Oct. 28 – “What Lies Within” – Alexis Engelbrecht, Intern Minister

It is easy to look beyond ourselves when considering what is wrong in our society, but what might happen if we look within?

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Hello! – from Alexis

I’m excited to be serving as your part-time Intern Minister for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 church years as a part of my formation as a minister. I will be working with various groups and facilitating worship services every other month (or so) during my time with you.

The UUA requires ministerial interns to develop in a variety of areas, so my work with you will evolve and might not always look the same as the months progress. Thank you for the kindness many of you have already displayed in welcoming me into your community.

My social media policy is not to “friend” or follow members and friends of the congregations I serve, but I enjoy face-to-face interactions and appreciate it when people introduce themselves to me.

I welcome conversation and can be contacted via email ( to set up an appointment.

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Service opportunities

The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce two important volunteer opportunities. Rev. Molly’s words on a recent Sunday celebrated the joy of being together and how together we are better. With that sentiment in mind, we would like to briefly highlight some vital opportunities to serve our shared community.

If you are looking for a way to serve the church that is on your own schedule, can be done indoors, takes about two hours a month, needs no experience and is needed every other month, we have the opportunity for you. We are seeking volunteers who will review the church’s financial records every two months and also conduct a more in-depth review of the financial records once a year. No experience is necessary, and you will receive training on the particulars. For more information, please email Church Treasurer Patty Daus or Elaine Martin.

The other opportunity is also financial in nature, and we prefer volunteers who have an experience in finance. The Investment and Endowment Committee meets four times a year. They discuss, research and make decisions for how our church can best manage our financial assets based on our UU principles. For more information, please email Church Treasurer Patty Daus or Pam Springsteel, Chair of the Investment and Endowment Committee.

There are obviously many other opportunities to volunteer at our church, and all are important. However, these are two areas where we are really in need of help, and we’re hoping a few of you will be willing to step forward. Thank you!!

– Patty Daus, Church Treasurer

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In memory of Abe Eisenstark

During these days of numbing sorrow, we members of Abe Eisenstark’s family feel your enveloping love and caring. The kindness and true blessing of your love has been palpable.

We especially thank the members of the caring committee for their calls, hugs, memorial service, flowers and the delicious food served at the reception.

Rev. Molly and Prof. Minturn added the grace notes of remembrance to a lovely service, and we thank them.

Abe loved UUCC, and the decades shared in the UU church will always be a warm memory. Thank you.

– Joan Ragsdell Eisenstark and the extended
Eisenstark and Ragsdell families

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October Forum schedule

The UU Forum, an adult discussion group open to the public, meets on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. Conversation and light refreshments are offered along with the discussion. Forum coordinator: Bill Clark, 573-474-4510.

  • Oct. 7: Al Lackey will discuss Hans Rosling’s book Factfulness. Bill Gates said this book is one of the most important books he has ever read. Participants in the Forum will be asked to answer a multiple choice questionnaire about the world. Those attending should bring a pencil or some other writing instrument for marking the questionnaire.
  • Oct. 14: Dave Leuthold will take a look at the November elections from a third-party point of view.
  • Oct. 21: George Frissell will discuss Hinduism.
  • Oct. 28: John Parker, retired MU Extension regional director and an advocate of the Osher learning program, will discuss growing up in rural Missouri in a family that included a school superintendent and a world-famous pool player.

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Voter Engagement Team


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Good listeners wanted

The Nominating Committee is looking for good listeners to serve as trustees or as delegates to General Assembly. Both jobs require an ability to listen to members of our congregation and other stakeholders. If you want to learn more, please contact Kevin Fritsche, Peter Holmes or Todd Iveson.

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Welcoming Team announcement

For Our Newcomers: “Getting to Know UU” (for all those who want to know more about us).

On the first Sunday of each month in the minister’s office after the 11 a.m. worship service for about 30 minutes. Child care provided.

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UUCC Third Annual Campout in Hermann, Mo.

Fun in the Forest
Sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Team
Oct. 12-14, 2018

Family fun, fall colors, campfires, s’mores,
singing, hiking, music, games,
and an outdoor Sunday Service

Light breakfast foods available each morning.
Saturday night dinner provided.
Just $25 per adult. Kids are free.

To reserve your place, sign up here
or email Patty Daus or Peter Holmes

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Social Action Team retreat reaffirms commitment to courageous love in action

On Saturday, Sept. 8, our Social Action Team reaffirmed our church’s and our team’s important role in being moral and values-based actors in our community’s and country’s social and political life, as well as in our work on behalf of our Earth. We are one of just a few faith communities that comes from a clear and progressive perspective in a state that is dominated by conservative views.

There are five important aspects of our Social Justice Work:

  1. Direct service
  2. Fundraising (to support our work and those of partnering community organizations)
  3. Education (learning about issues, our role in them, how to effect systemic change)
  4. Advocacy and witness (e.g. through our work with Missouri Faith Voices)
  5. Community-building and deep connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world and kinds of relationships we want to see)

Our identified areas of focus and interest include economic justice, anti-racism, and diversity. We also hope to partner with the Green Sanctuary Team on areas of environmental justice.

To do this important work, we need as many hands on deck as we can gather. Please consider joining our team and one of our subcommittees. The SAT meets on the first Sunday of each month in the Library/Forum Room on the lower level immediately after the 11 a.m. service.

For more information, email new Social Action Team Chair Caya Tanski.

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Start thinking about being a UU delegate

Our Denominational Affairs Team (DAT) urges church members to begin thinking about becoming a delegate to our UU regional assembly or the UUA General Assembly. We are entitled to send six delegates to:

  • The next MidAmerica Region assembly in St. Louis April 5-7, 2019.
  • The next UUA G.A. in Spokane, Wash. June 19-23, 2019.

Church members interested in being delegates should contact Nominating Committee Chair Todd Iveson. The committee submits delegate nominations to the Board of Trustees, which selects delegates.

For more information or to join the DAT, email chair Steve Scott.

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Programs and Events

Adult Religious Education – Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30

Mark your calendars with a recurring event to join us for an exciting new Adult Religious Education offering. Two classes are being offered on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m.:

  • Class Consciousness in Unitarian Universalism: Explore how class influences values, coping styles and expectations about others.
  • What Moves Us: UU Theology: We know what moves us as Unitarian Universalists: personal experience. Yet, we often stumble when trying to explain.

Registration is not required, and you are welcome to come to some or all of the sessions. Childcare will be provided.

UU Life Writers – fall 2018 – “Our Stories… Our Voices” – Oct. 6 and 20

The Life Writers group begins again – to write marvelous life stories on first and third Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in the Centering Room downstairs at the church.

Please bring paper and favorite writing tools. We will meet on the following dates:

  • Oct. 6 and 20
  • Nov. 3 and 17
  • Dec. 1 and maybe 15

For more information contact Fran Reynolds at 881-3828 or by email.

Conversations, Etc. – Oct. 10

All women who are free on the second Wednesday of the month at noon are invited to join Conversations, Etc. us at church.

Please bring a brown bag lunch. We will enjoy the good company of friends. We hope to see you there!

If you have questions, call Melinda Farhangi at 573-445-6325.

UUCC Book Discussion – Oct. 12

The Book Discussion Group will meet at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 at Bamboo Terrace, 3101 W. Broadway, Suite 101. Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly. If you have questions, call Pam Springsteel at 445-0642.

Men’s Group – Oct. 13 and 27

The UUCC Men’s Group meets on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The group is open to all men. There are no fees and no reservations are necessary.

The agenda is an open discussion of whatever is on the minds of those in attendance – and breakfast!

For more information contact Wiley Miller at 573-864-8574 or by email.

UUCC provides Loaves and Fishes meal on 3rd Sundays – Oct. 21

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month.

Please sign up here to prepare food for this meal and/or to help set up, serve, and clean up.

Serving meals at Loaves and Fishes is a project of our Social Action Team. If you have questions, email Diane Suhler.

Mindfulness Meditation – Sunday mornings

Mindfulness Meditation takes place 10:05 to 10:45 a.m. every Sunday downstairs in the Centering Room or the Schweitzer classroom. If the weather is suitable we will sit outside around the Fire Circle.

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DRE’s October Message

This month, as we dig into our work this year of re-examining loaded words, we tackle the theme of evil. This feels like a particularly tricky one to me as a parent. As children begin to develop a sense of morality, a common practice is to sort the world into “good guys” and “bad guys.” I remember my discomfort, while I was watching yet another story of police misconduct play out in the news, observing my child play cops and robbers with his legos, building a jail for the robbers, one with no door. When I asked about this, he said the robbers were bad so they had to stay in jail forever.

When I think of what I want my children to understand about evil, it is that evil is not a person but a behavior, and that any time we are choosing what behavior we want to engage in. “Good guys” can make a choice to be evil, and “bad guys” can make a choice to turn toward good.

Children need that clear black and white of right and wrong in their early development, but we can begin to lay the groundwork of exploring how each of us has the potential toward good and evil. Consider having a conversation with your child about what actions you both see as evil and why. Ultimately, that becomes a conversation about what your most core values as a family are.

In our Monster Mash Intergenerational Service on Oct. 21, we will explore this in greater depth – how we can look to make-believe and one-dimensional monsters as a tool for understanding how evil relates to our own impulses and choices.

And as they play their games of good guys and bad guys, maybe we can show them how to build a door in their jail.

– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

YRUU and General Assembly

For the last few years, our high school youth group has been attending General Assembly, the annual gathering of thousands of UUs in June. In 2019 General Assembly will take place June 19-23 in Spokane, Wash. – a long ways away!

If we want to send a contingent, we need to start planning early to reach our fundraising goals. And we need a firm commitment of who is planning to attend (with the understanding that this year will probably require a greater family financial contribution to cover airfare).

Let me know by Oct. 9 if your teen is planning to attend. Please contact Jamila Batchelder with any questions.

Junior Youth – 2018-19

Junior Youth is a program to create bonds of community and friendship among our 6th-8th grade youth. Junior Youth meets on the second Friday of each month for fun activities (and sometimes fun service projects). And of course lots of pizza.

The first meeting of the year will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12. Please RSVP by email to Lisa Fritsche if you plan to attend or want more information. At the first meeting, youth will decide what they will be doing all year, so attend if you want to have a say!

Pie and Board Games – 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 13

Childcare available upon request

October R.E. Schedule

  • Oct 7: Service Sunday
  • Oct. 14: Regular RE Classes
  • Oct. 21: Intergenerational Monster Mash Service
  • Oct. 28: Regular RE Classes

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Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours:
    Tuesdays 1-4 p.m. at church
    Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kaldi’s Coffee Downtown
    By appointment (including evenings and weekends)

Alexis Engelbrecht, Intern Minister
Office Hours: By appointment

Kathie Bergman, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m.-noon and by appointment

Marques J. Ruff, Interim Music Director
Rehearsals on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2018-2019 Board of Trustees

Barbara Rupp, President
Mindy McPherson, President-Elect
Todd Iveson, Past President
Patty Daus, Treasurer
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Mark Johnson
Peter Holmes
Gretchen Maune
Elaine Martin

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Searchlight Publication Information

The Searchlight is published monthly by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri.

Submissions: By email or postal mail to Church Administrator. The deadline for submissions is noon on the third Monday of each month for the following month’s edition.

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